Starwood's Scintillating Hawaii Club Lounges
PHOTO: Leahi Club Lounge. (photo courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts)
One often thinks of club lounges as a product depended upon by business travelers. Amenities that fit a business traveler’s schedule and needs, such as complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres and happy hours, and copier and print services are trusted standbys at such lounges, so what benefit would they have in a primarily leisure destination like Hawaii?
Questions aside, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has just completed major renovations or installations of Club or VIP lounges at several of their Hawaii properties, so there must be some benefit to adding that type of experiences for vacationing guests. Starwood is revitalizing the Sheraton Brand with the Sheraton 2020 concept, one of the cornerstones of which is to upgrade and promote the Sheraton Club product at each property.
READ MORE: Starwood Expands SPG Keyless
Properties in Hawaii have been taking particular focus on the Sheraton Club brand standard of offering expansive views. Sheraton Clubs in Hawaii are typically open in the morning and evening, serving continental breakfast early in the day, and pupus (appetizers) with beer and wine in the evenings. Sheraton Club Managers are also on hand to assist guests with concierge-style assistance both before and during their stay. Sheraton Clubs are typically available to those booking Sheraton Club accommodations, specific packages, SPG Platinum members or those paying a daily fee for use.
Although nearly half of the 11 Starwood properties in Hawaii are Sheraton-branded, none of them had a Sheraton Club until 2011, when the landmark restaurant Hanohano Room on the 30th floor of the Sheraton Waikiki closed and underwent a million dollar renovation into the Leahi Club. Accessible via a glass elevator from the lobby, the club offers views along Waikiki Beach and of its namesake, Leahi, (which is more commonly known as Diamond Head Crater).
January 2014 saw the opening of the Na Hoku Sheraton Club Lounge at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. In a departure from the Sheraton Club at many other properties, the Na Hoku (The Stars) Sheraton Club is open air, and sits on top of Puu Kekaa (Black Rock) offering views of Kaanapali Beach, Lanai and the West Maui mountains.
On Hawaii Island, the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay opened the first Sheraton Club in Hawaii with indoor-outdoor space with the conversion of an existing hotel suite to the Kaiulu Club Lounge in April, 2016. Kaiulu translates to “the sea at full tide” and the lounge offers views of the Kona Coast and Pacific Ocean where guests can swim with manta rays after dark. Continental breakfast here includes two hot items.
Starwood Hawaii’s investment in lounge products, however, isn’t limited to those prescribed by the Sheraton 2020 initiatives. On Oahu, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, opened the new Mailani (Hawaiian for “to indulge” or “spoil”) Lounge for guests staying in the recently remodeled Mailani Tower, a hotel-within-a-hotel which opened in Spring, 2015.
Guest rooms feature separate check-in and upgraded amenities, plus access to the pool-view Mailani Lounge, with morning and evening food and beverage presentations. Mailani Mornings, from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. include a barista serving Kona coffee and espresso drinks, gourmet teas, mimosas and food presentations of oatmeal and Greek yogurt stations, fresh pastries and island fruit.
During Mailani evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., there’s a signature cocktail, beer, wine, and pupus. The Mailani Tower is distinctive from the rest of the Royal Hawaiian resort, and has introduced its own Luxury Collection logo adorned with the Pink Ginger blossom.
Also in Waikiki, the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa has opened the Beach Club, which offers club lounge-type services including continental breakfast, midday snacks, and afternoon pupus and views of Leahi, Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean. This is a Westin, so the focus here will be on Superfoods and rejuvenation.
While Hawaii is a destination that appeals to explorers, those who might like to find a different island breakfast each morning and enjoy sunset vistas from new exciting happy hour spots each evening, Starwood Hawaii’s in-hotel lounge products have value in their own special way — from seasoned travelers who have worked club lounges into their hotel routines to travelers who simply want to unplug and relax in a comfortable lounge with a good view. In either case, the properties’ investments appear to be paying off for these traveler segments.
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